The beginning of a new year gives us a chance to start afresh. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and write a new chapter in our lives. We can leave our bad eating habits and lazy lifestyle in 2017 and look to set some resolutions for the New Year.

Many of us start the year determined to lose weight, improve our health and become more active. Gyms brim with new clients enthusiastic about changing their lives. However, we all know that it can be tough to stick to those resolutions; in fact, studies show that approximately half of new gym goers will stop by the six-month milestone.

How can you make sure that your New Year’s resolutions don’t fall by the wayside? Effective goal setting is the answer, and is crucial to the success of meeting the resolutions we set. A method of effective goal setting is to follow the S.M.A.R.T principle. Created in 1981 by George Doran, it has been adapted time and time again to meet the needs of different people.

The definition fits into these criteria: Specific — What do you want to achieve? Measurable — You need to be able to track progress. Action — What you are going to do? Realistic — Should challenge but be reachable. Time-Related — Establish a time scale to meet it.

You may come across other criteria, but they are all broadly the same; however, the terms above are most suited to setting a personal goal. Now let’s consider an example: Joe Bloggs says “I want to lose weight”. Now let’s break this down into a more effective goal using the S.M.A.R.T principle.

S — I want to lose weight. M — I will measure my weight once a week. A — I will go to the gym three times a week. R —  I will aim to lose 10kg. T — I will have done this in four months, on 1 May.

Why does goal setting work? Put simply, goal setting helps us to focus attention and enhance our motivation. The promise of satisfaction when completing our goals helps us to remain persistent, and by being able to measure our goals, we can follow progress towards that goal and remain motivated.

Keep in mind that it’s not enough to “keep it in mind”. Instead you should “Get it in ink”. Write your goals down; we cannot reinforce the importance of this little tip. By writing it down you are creating a personal “contract” with yourself that you are obliged to fulfil.

Another tip: Share your goals with family and friends who will be supportive of your efforts to achieve them. By doing so you become accountable to broad group of people who have your best interests at heart, and can support you through a temporary crisis in motivation (we all have them).

For more support and an even greater chance of success, turn to the experts. That’s where Elite Health & Fitness comes in. Based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, we have 13 years’ experience helping clients achieve life-changing results and our testimonials speak for themselves. Get in touch today to see how we could help you kick-start your weight loss and fitness goals.

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